The Miami Heat were looking to sign a big man this past offseason that could match up with Roy Hibbert in the playoffs and they decided to take a risk on former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden. Oden has had a very disappointing career since the Portland Trail Blazers selected him over Kevin Durant in the 2007 NBA Draft and has been sidelined by one injury after another. Miami believes that Oden is finally healthy and ready to contribute to their quest for a three-peat, but is he really capable of stopping Roy Hibbert or even Andrew Bynum?
Miami has taken its time bringing Oden along and giving him limited minutes so far this season. They are making sure that he is not going to wear out his body and miss time in the playoffs, but he has been able to perform at a fairly consistent level in his small allotment of minutes. In 14 games this season with Miami, Oden has averaged 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in just 8.4 minutes per game.
As previously mentioned, the Heat did not sign Greg Oden to be a big piece for the team during the regular season. The Heat have been pushed to the limit in each of the past two seasons by the Indiana Pacers and the main reason is because of the size that Indiana has in the frontcourt. If the Heat are hoping to beat a much deeper Indiana Pacers team this season, they are going to need Oden to step up in a big way and defend the rim.
So the question that is being asked turns out to be a very simple one. Can Greg Oden resurrect his disappointing NBA career with a strong performance in the playoffs?
The first step in regaining his former form has already been made by Greg Oden and that is getting back on the court and staying healthy for the first half of the regular season. He hasn’t received a ton of minutes, but he has played here and there and been a consistent performer as well. Miami will continue bringing him along and allowing him to work hard in practice and see in-game action here and there down the stretch of the season.
Oden has all of the physical tools to make some noise in the postseason against a player like Roy Hibbert. Hibbert is a very talented post player, but he has been unable to overpower other big men throughout his career, and that is where Oden could cause him some issues. Last year, the Miami Heat didn’t have a player that could push Hibbert off of the block, much less get a hand in his face on a shot. Greg Oden will be very capable of doing just that and will make things much more difficult around the rim for the Pacers’ big men.
Overall, this is going to be a very interesting situation to keep an eye on as the playoffs continue to approach. Greg Oden feels good about the future and believes that he can be a big piece in helping the Heat three-peat, but he has to prove those feelings on the court. The former number one overall pick is excited to be a part of the Heat and thankful for another opportunity to pursue his NBA dreams. Don’t be surprised if he shows up and is a key factor in the playoffs and shows that he can still play basketball at a high level.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for HoopsHabit.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.